BASF eyes shale gas potential in Germany and Argentina

05 July 2012 19:36  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--BASF is considering shale opportunities in Germany and Argentina in its search for gas and greater energy efficiency, the company confirmed on Thursday.

BASF executive board member Harald Schwager pointed to the chemical giant’s oil and gas subsidiary, Wintershall, which searches for gas in two regions in Germany's North-Rhine Westphalia state.

Europe needs to catch up with the US, where energy prices are much lower because of shale gas, Schwager said in a newswire interview reported in the German press. European energy price were up to five times as high as prices in the US and as a result Europe’s industrial competitiveness is suffering, he said.

A BASF spokeswoman confirmed to ICIS that the company is joining the debate in Germany over the potential for exploiting new sources of natural gas. She 
added that BASF has not yet to be granted permits to explore for shale gas in Germany.

On its website, Wintershall says that its concessions “Rhineland” and “Ruhr” cover an area of 3,900 square kilometres, stretching from the German-Dutch border in the west to the Sauerland region in the state’s east.

“Our activities are limited to preliminary geological surveys to assess the resource potential of possible unconventional deposits. Deep drilling and fracking activities are not planned,” Wintershall adds.

Meanwhile, Wintershall is exploring for shale gas in Argentina, where the company has been welcome, Schwager said.

In related news, German media reported this week that the city council of Velbert, south of Essen, unanimously passed a resolution to reject fracking. Velbert lies within Wintershall's Ruhr concession. However, unlike in France, there is no general moratorium on fracking in Germany.

Germany could have 700bn-2,300bn cubic metres of shale-gas reserves, the country's Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) said last month. 

Additional reporting by Stefan Baumgarten

By: Nigel Davis
+44 20 8652 3214

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